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Newbie Gear List
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Norman Bradley
(NormanB) - F

Locale: New York
Newbie Gear List on 11/04/2008 21:15:17 MST Print View

As a child, I had gone camping with my folks for about 10 years (tent trailer every summer). On occasion I also did some packing with friends, but never really put much forethought into what was being packed as it was spur of the moment thing. Just tossed in a pack an extra change of clothes, extra socks and shorts, toilet paper, some food; picked up munchies at the market, got a tarp, rope, tape from hardware store and off we went. I'm off the tarp - something about a skunk running on thru put me off.
It has been at least a dozen or so years now since my last trip. After some reading of the book and posts, below is a starter list.
Clothing is not included as it's weather and is regionally dependent. Italicized items didn't come out
so NY will have to mean I don't have yet but plan to get. TBD either I'm not sure which manufacturer, or, I might not even get the item. Other items I already have.
What are your thoughts?

Basic Items
Pack NY - removable, adjustable internal frame
Tent NY - 3 season 2 person sized w/ floor (stakes, cords, poles….)
Ground Cloth sheet plastic reinforced openings and stakes
Sleeping Bag NY spring/summer weight supplimented with clothing
Blanket small wool blanket - or use clothing climate pending
Ground Pad Foam Yoga Mat
Bivy Sack TBD
Cordage Peregrine 50' Black Paracord 500lb rating
Assorted lengths of 6mm and 8mm nylon for tying items to pack
Additional Lashing straps
Stuff Sacks 2 or 3

Walking About
Compass Suunto MC-2 Global Pro Compass
Trek Pole Islay Highlander WP03 Telescoping Aluminum Pole
Maps NY- Maps with optional small plastic tube
NY- Map protection/pocket and erasable pen

Misc. Gear
Knife Gerber LMF II Infantry/Survival Knife
Gerber E-Z-Out with serrated blade and clip
Flashlight MagLite Solitaire AAA
NY larger sized
Shovel TBD US Army Style entrenching tool
Close Encounters TBD Bear Spray
NY Hand Held Air Horn
Military style plasic whistle
Radio TBD Micro AM/FM radio with ear bud and extra batteries
Bandanas 2 or 3
Carabiners 2 - 4 minis for attaching things to pack

Emg'cy/First Aid
Cold Peregrine Space Emergency Blanket
First Aid Kit Band Aids, Gauze Pads, snake bite kit, NY-sutures, ointment
TBD Sports Tape, Benadryl, Tylenol, Immodium, NY-Blister Pads
mini tweezers, Ace Bandages 1@6" 1@4"
1-2 small 1 oz bottles vodka
Cell Phone NY-Extra Battery - off until needed
Signalling Small Palm Sized Polished metal mirror
TBD Emergency Strobe
TBD Hand Launchable Flares
Duct Tape Small Roll 2" x 10yd +-
Clothing Repair Small sewing kit, a few spare buttons
Small tube crazy glue/Cyanoacrylate
Fire Magnesium FireStarter
Waterproof and Windproof Matches in container
Regular small box of matches in waterproof capsule
Tinder - pocket lint, ripped shoe laces, cotton balls

Water and Food Prep
Water Pre Bottled in exterior pouch
TBD Collapsable water bottle(s) inside pack
TBD Treatment
Stove & Fuel NY-pending
Can Opener Small finger sized opener (just in case)
Utensils NY-Pending - Stainless Steel Mess Kit
NY-Small Pot
Peregrine J010 Chow Kit -cutlery
Collapsable Cup 2
Small sheet aluminum foil folded up
Other A few zip lock bags - holding all the loose stuff

Hygene & Skin Toothbrush and Paste
Toilet Paper
Alcohol Wipes (fire starting use)
NY-Environ Friendly Soap
3 Floss Picks
Sports Chamois
Shop Cleaning Rags or med sized hand towel
1-2 Disposable razor
Lip Balm

Camera Nikon D-80 with 80-135mm lense, shade, cap
Assorted CF Cards in Protective Holders 2Gb and 4Gb
Extra batteries -1 present, 2nd extra pending
NY-Wide Angle Lense

Clothing Boonie Hat water repellant
Extra Boot laces
Poncho and rain pants
Mesh Style Fingerless weightlifting or shooting gloves

That is quite a lot of stuff, not counting clothes and food.

Edited by NormanB on 11/04/2008 21:24:44 MST.

Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: Newbie Gear List on 11/04/2008 22:53:56 MST Print View

Here are my suggestions:
Do you really need a bivy inside a tent? If you want it to increase the temp rating of your bag, the weight would better be spent in more down in the sleeping bag.

Really no need for the shovel either. You're just digging a hole for your poo. I small plastic trowel will do if necessary. I've done just fine with found objects like sticks and rocks.

No need for two knives. I never use the knife I carry but I do like to have it because I've carried it with me every day for the last 7 years. Pick the lighter of the two knives you have listed and bring it.

Bring one bandana and drop the rest plus the chamois. One bandana will suffice for drying things, protecting your neck from the sun, and as a pot holder.

Lose the air horn, way overkill, especially since you've already got a whistle listed.

For lighting I personally carry a small headlamp, a Petzl e+lite, and a pinch light on my neck lanyard. I don't hike much at night and they are more than sufficient for around camp. If you do decided to bring a larger light steer clear of large Maglite. I promise you you will not need it.

The wool blanket is probably unnecessary as well. As is the 50 ft of cord. I'd practice setting up the tent beforehand and cut the rope to length and leave it at that.

Just-in-case can opener? Just in case you happen upon a can of food, I suppose. I'd only bring the can opener if you bring along canned food.

I wouldn't bring disposable razors along unless I was planning to be out for a couple of months. Granted I keep a bit of a beard anyway, but I'm guessing you aren't going to become a competitor in a Grizzly Adams contest over the weekend.

That extra guyline you have can make a great boot lace as well. I wouldn't bring them either.

I'm not a fan of strapping things on the outside of my pack unless there is absolutely no room inside it. If I were you I would try my best to avoid strapping things on the outside and eliminate all the webbing and biners you've got listed.

Also, what's the reasoning behind the fingerless gloves?

After all that, I offer, the best way to figure out what to carry is to learn from experience. You can listen to whatever suggestions I, or anyone else makes, but ultimately its about what you are comfortable with carrying. We all have unique styles of backpacking and you won't figure out what yours if until you've done it a few times. There are lots of people here that love camping under tarps and others that wouldn't be caught dead without their Tarptents. There is no right and wrong way to backpack and no right and wrong gear (to a certain extent). Don't be afraid to test you sleeping gear, shelters, and cooking gear at home, where you can easily bail if its just not working. I worked my way into solo backpacking by doing overnighters at locations near my home. Its taken lots of trial and error but I think I've found a set of gear that works for me (except for food, I'm still working on that one :) ).

The biggest thing to emphasize is have fun. If you aren't having fun you're doing something wrong.


Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
Newbie gear list on 11/04/2008 23:06:00 MST Print View

Hey I counted some 88 items +or- not including clothes. Thats way too many. Refine, reduce, addapt to less is more.
Check out my gear list in community gearlist and look at ITEMS carried. It seems like you have all the essentals just keep refineing. Goodluck with your gear!!!!

PS: Buy a scale with gram capabilities.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
Newbie Gear List on 11/05/2008 10:28:40 MST Print View

I don't wanna sound harsh, but I have to say, your list was sort of ridiculous. If I passed you on the trail and saw your pack, I would probably wait 'til I got around a corner, and then laugh.

Please, answer these questions as a REPLY in this forum:

1. Where are you planning to camp.

2. When are you planning to camp (what season, what weather)

3. How long of a trip are you planning?

4. How big of a group?

You should read this posting:
It's a simple gear list. Nothing excessively fancy or expensive.

AND - Read the LIGHTWEIGHT 101 posting, and get a scale!

This is a basic question, but what are your needs? Truly, I am curious. Do you really want to try and go camping in a lightweight style? If so, you will seriously have to re think your gear list - and be WILLING to shed most of what you listed.

You are on a website called BackpackingLIGHT, so you must be eager to gain some insights.

Please - Reply to those questions above - and Keep us posted...

good luck, and BE BOLD!

victoria maki
(clt1953) - F

Locale: northern minnesota
re:norman and your gear list on 11/05/2008 10:44:30 MST Print View

hi, norman. don't let anyone make fun of your list. when i first started to backpack, many years ago, i carried a whooping 45 lbs. i am 5'3" and weigh 125 lbs. i took me a few years to finally figure out that was way to much weight on my knees. over the course of those years, i have weighed things, replaced items, and made some items do double or triple duty. i actually had fun doing it. i now carry a base weight of 17-19 lbs. i am very proud of that fact. i know you can get your weight down, and be comfortable at the same just may take you a little while..hang in there.

Blue _
(lrmblue) - MLife

Locale: Northeast (New England)
Re: re:norman and your gear list on 11/05/2008 12:11:34 MST Print View

Victoria is dead on here, Norman, there is a learning curve involved in refashioning the way some of us were trained to think about backpacking practices and equipment. Your gear list looks suspiciously similar to my own of only a few years ago. Answering some of Mike C's questions will help you lay the groundwork for building this new mental model.

As for Mike’s:
-----“I don't wanna sound harsh, but I have to say, your list was sort of ridiculous. If I passed you on the trail and saw your pack, I would probably wait 'til I got around a corner, and then laugh” -----you might consider the post by Mike that follows the BPL review (on this site) of Don Ladigin’s “Lighten Up!” (brilliantly illustrated by Mike Clelland, IMO). Mike wrote:

"At the time I took on the project [to illustrate “Lighten Up!”], I had never done any true light-weight backpacking. I work for an outdoor school, and most of my work involves 30-day mountaineering expeditions with HUGE packs. But, Don was showing me the simple techniques that sort of blew my mind. Everything was new to me, and it was a real eye-opening experience. With very little investment, I purchase [sic] a few key items and tried it out on my own. I was shocked at how FUN backpacking could be. It had been drudgery up until my interactions with Don.
Now, just a few years later I have become an outspoken zealot for the cause. I'm known as the "ultra-light" guy in my little town. It's been a delightful transition, and I feel like I've found a new and delightful passion. And it all started with Don Ladigin and his first phone call."

If you haven’t read “Lighten Up!” I recommend it. Good luck, Norman, this may be your first step to becoming an "outspoken zealot" yourself ;-).


Edited by lrmblue on 11/05/2008 13:34:27 MST.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
Newbie Gear List on 11/05/2008 12:50:20 MST Print View

Maybe I was making fun of your list, but hopefully in a nice way.

Yes, I know - I used the term "ridiculous." But Norman, I can say with absolute confidence that you do NOT need a US Army Style entrenching tool!

Once again, (I'm serious now) please reply to my questions. I enjoy the role insightful gear coach, and from my work as an instructor I've gotten pretty good at it!

And your really SHOULD get the book LIGHTEN UP!

Norman Bradley
(NormanB) - F

Locale: New York
gear list on 11/05/2008 20:05:23 MST Print View

Not taking things badly at all. I figured I'd get a few knocks. I should have clarified a few things.

One trip I made with 6 or 8 friends, was for a 2 day hike that almost went to 3 - got lost. It was around Thanksgiving, on the AT. Had extra change of clothes, 2 spare sets of socks, rental sleeping bag (that was at least 3 pounds), sweater, heavy weight plastic tarp, about 20 feet of cotton laundry line, toilet paper, a few clean rags, a pair of work gloves (to handle frying pan and for other dirty stuff), extra pair boot laces, munchies, pocket knife, iron frying pan (it was the only pan I had and I was the designated cook), all the breakfast food. Wearing: long underwear, flannel shirt, sweat shirt, jeans, construction boots, light jacket, watch cap. Wound up doubling my socks. Gave laces to friend. Fell in stream and got soaked - glad I had the extra clothes. Nothing was ultralight gear. I'd say the pack was close to 50 pounds, or at least it felt that way. Virtually no forethought was put into packing.
The list shows I put too much thought into it.

1. I'm not getting all the items. Some are just up for consideration (the TBDs).
2. Not taking all of them at the same time. A few things were just tossed in as: "is this a good idea?", or, for opinions, or carried as need arises.

I figured the shovel would get a resounding rejection - and I agree.

Knives, I have always carried at least one, typically 2 on trips. Smoetimes a small knife can get into places and do a better job a large one can't. (Learned this in the kichen).

Whistle vs air horn. Figured the horn would be a back up in case a bear is not at all impressed by the whistle, and the spray as a next to last resort.

Bandana - I'd probably use just 2. I have never been able to dry much with a bandana, seems to repel water more than it holds it.

I definitely would not get a large MagLite - I already carry a 4-D Cell model around on construction sites and it's way too heavy for packing. Think even a 2-D or 2-C might be too heavy as well. Maybe a AA version. Haven't looked at LED models yet.

Blanket would only be taken if and when I go winter packing and/or expect clothing would not suffice. Otheriwse sleep in bag with clothes...done that before.

Can opener - well I could start off with a can and use it as cooking pot for rest of trip....

Razors just because I cannot stand fuzzy collars rubbing against a few days stubble build up on my neck- like velcro sometimes.

All I'd probably strap to outside is shell/jacket, maybe a walking stick or water bottle. I know anything large swinging about tends to have an exaggerated pull the further out it is from the body - not comfortable.

Fingerless gloves, thought they might protect my palms and backs of hands if doing light climbing over rocks and maybe keep the bugs away from the back of my hands too. Heavier work, the gloves come off as they'd get in the way. Might make holding the trek pole difficult though. Camera certainly. Hmmm.

Strobe vs flares. Flares have the benefit of getting additional altitude, especially over trees, but the strobe won't burn the forest down.

How about xylume/glow sticks? Anyone use these?

Locations: I just got back from a 12 day coach trip thru the Scottish Highlands and would love to go back packing it. Also thought about going back to Nova Scotia, PEI and Newfoundland.
When: Late spring thru early fall.
Whom: Maybe with 1 or 2 others, most likely just myself.

Edited by NormanB on 11/05/2008 20:07:08 MST.

Jeremy Greene
(tippymcstagger) - F

Locale: North Texas
Re: gear list on 11/06/2008 07:10:41 MST Print View


I think you have some crossed and incompatible purposes in mind. Your desires seem to range from tail-gate party to remote expedition. Think of a realistic trip you could take next week. I don't think it is useful to continue until you consider Mike's questions.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
Newbie Gear List on 11/06/2008 10:06:22 MST Print View

Norman wrote:

Locations: the Scottish Highlands, Nova Scotia, PEI and Newfoundland.

When: Late spring thru early fall.

Whom: Maybe with 1 or 2 others, most likely just myself.


My reply:


Okay, that's 3-season non-winter environments where it will probably rain.

And - Most likely yourself, so lets format all this stuff as SOLO camping.


Reading thru your postings, it seems like you are stuck in another paradigm, you are asking one thing, but you are displaying something incompatible.

You need to make a fundamental shift in your mindset. You won't be able to enter the realm of the LIGHTWEIGHT camper without a true dedication to TOTALLY DIFFERENT way of looking at the experience of camping.

If you really want to experience the joys of lightweight backpacking, you need dedicate yourself to some very real changes, and you'll need to be prepared to leave some stuff behind.

I teach this stuff for NOLS and for BPL. I take total beginner campers into the mountains with FULL backpacks weighing LESS THAN 25 POUNDS. (and that's with 6 days of food and a liter of water)

We are comfortable, well fed, warm - and happy! We travel in real-deal big mountain terrain with lots of off trail travel.

I can say with great confidence, you do NOT need an air horn, Blanket, Can opener, Razors, Strobe, Flares or xylume glow sticks!

Are you ready for a big leap in how to appreciate the wilderness???

Please reply - I'm eager to help.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
Newbie Gear List - with link to gear list on 11/06/2008 10:07:38 MST Print View

One more important addition:

Before we proceed, you simply MUST Read this link!

This is a gear list for a truly lightweight pack. Nothing fancy or extreme.

(below is the intro text)
Backpacking Checklist (Gear List): 3-Season, 3-Day

An example of what a lightweight backpacker might take on a 3-day outing.

by Ryan Jordan / 2003

Seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall
Length of Trip: 3-Day Weekend

Context: The gear list provided below is merely an example of how one lightweight backpacker might select equipment for a 3-day weekend outing. Generally, the choices below are suitable for most 'three-season' conditions in the mountain ranges of continental U.S., recognizing that some level of skill and experience is required to successfully use this equipment kit in inclement conditions. More experienced backpackers can trim weight even further from this list, while less experienced backpackers will find that a few extra pounds of clothing, shelter, and/or food will give them a more acceptable level of comfort and safety.

Joe Westing
(pedro87) - F
Re: Newbie Gear List - with link to gear list on 11/06/2008 10:58:32 MST Print View

Mike -

Just a heads up. I'm pretty sure the link you provided does not work. I think it is the missing the "l" at the end (should be .html). This is the correct link:

David T
(DaveT) - F
. on 11/06/2008 11:56:36 MST Print View


Edited by DaveT on 01/18/2015 19:20:39 MST.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Newbie Gear List on 11/06/2008 14:25:26 MST Print View

Mike Clelland -

This list and another reference by you recommends keeping food to 20 ounces a day -

Even at 150 calories an ounce (pretty high) this comes in at only 3000 calories a day. With a basal metabolism at 2000 that leaves 1000 calories for 10 hours of hard hiking.

This sounds like a "walk fast lose fast" diet plan, or am I missing something here?

I appreciate your insights. Please keep them coming.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: Re: Newbie Gear List on 11/06/2008 14:31:27 MST Print View


What you're saying would be true on a long distance hike but the likelihood of losing fat on a 3-day trip (what the linked to gear list is for) is slim to none. Most thru-hikers eat a slight deficit and then make up calories in towns.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Newbie Gear List on 11/06/2008 14:34:17 MST Print View

Chris -
Sorry..... I'm Not advocating this as a plan, nor do I want to talk about weight loss...

The question is

"Do you seriously believe 1000 calories over 10 hours is enough to sustain someone over the course of 3 or more days?"

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: Re: Newbie Gear List on 11/06/2008 15:10:54 MST Print View

To answer your question, yes. I've gone longer on 3000 or less and been fine. That doesn't mean it would work for everyone though.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
1.4 PPPPD (food weight) on 11/06/2008 15:28:46 MST Print View

I've gone out on a NOLS trip with 13 days in the Wind River Range with 1.4 Pounds Per Person Per Day (PPPPD).

That's about 22.2 ounces of food PPPPD.

We were a team of 10, and at the end of 13 days we had a tiny bit (not much) left over. It worked out perfectly! For lightweight summer camping, I've tried 1.6 PPPPD, 1.5 PPPPD and I've found that 1.4 PPPPD is just about perfect.

The way to gage success is how much food is leftover at the end, and with 1.4 PPPPD there was almost zero. Other courses with NOLS have proved this to be a very good number. The higher numbers (from earlier LW trips in previous years) came back with a little more food.

My goal is ALWAYS to walk out of the mountains with absolutly ZERO food. If I do that, I did something right!

I have absolutely no idea how many calories this works out to. All I know is we ate well, and ate it all! (Yummy)

Here's a link to a trip report from this summer:

... and another one too. Both using 1.4 PPPPD for food.

- - - AND - - -

Here's a recipe and ration article, this matches (sorta) what the LW NOLS courses take.

This article link (above) has the math from the summer of 2006, when we went out with 1.6 PPPPD. We had a little pile of leftovers at the end of that trip.

This kind of info is important, and it's good to keep records of what you take so you can use this info when planing (and refining) your next trip. If I was doing the PCT I would bump up these numbers, but not much.

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: 1.4 PPPPD (food weight) on 11/06/2008 15:37:14 MST Print View

I usually start with 1.5 PPD for myself. My GF usually eats 2 PPD but she has a slightly higher metabolism.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
Re: 1.4 PPPPD (food weight) on 11/06/2008 17:09:50 MST Print View


She eats 2 Pounds Per Day? Do you keep track of left-over food? Is it "dry" food like pasta, or no cook (and heavier) like bars?

2 PPD is a lot. Wow! That's what I take winter camping.

The reason I go with 1.4 PPPPD (in the summer) is because it just plain weighs less at the start of the trip.